Republican 2024 Interior, Environment Funding Bill Endangers Americans’ Health While Profiting Polluters
Bill includes the lowest level the EPA has received since 1991, cuts funding for the arts, and prohibits Smithsonian from highlighting the contributions of American Latinos in U.S. history and culture.
WASHINGTON — Today, House Republicans released the draft fiscal year 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies funding bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation takes an aggressive anti-environment pro-pollution stance with a crippling 39 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and policy provisions that will endanger public health, strain the economy, and increase costs. The bill also slashes funding for arts programs and prohibits funding for the new National Museum of the American Latino and the operation of the existing Molina Family Latino Gallery, which will prevent the Smithsonian from highlighting the contributions of American Latinos in United States History and culture.
The Republican bill cuts programs in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) by $9.4 billion. These cuts include $7.8 billion from the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund which supports investments for disadvantaged communities and the creation of high-paying jobs. Republicans cut $1.4 billion intended to address environmental health impacts in underserved communities. They also slash hundreds of millions in additional funding for the Department of the Interior (DOI) and Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).
The draft bill includes $34.8 billion, which is $5.7 billion below the 2023 level, a cut of 14 percent.
- Hinders the U.S. response to the Climate Crisis and fails to address the growing number and severity of extreme weather events by cutting efforts to reduce carbon emissions and community resiliency programs.
- Slashes funding for national parks, threatening Americans’ ability to enjoy public lands.
- Exacerbates environmental discrimination against rural and poor communities by defunding environmental justice initiatives.
- Promotes dirty energy by requiring fossil fuels lease sales while prohibiting growth in clean energy projects.
- Hastens ecosystem decline by allowing harmful and dirty mining activities and by removing Endangered Species Act protections for numerous species.
- Incites hate and discrimination by promoting racial conspiracy theories, prohibiting funds for advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, censoring commemoration of LGTBQI+ pride, and prohibiting the Smithsonian Institution from highlighting the contributions of American Latinos in U.S. history and culture.
“Over the past week, we’ve endured the hottest average global temperatures ever recorded on Earth. Despite the record-setting heat, extreme weather events, drought, and wildfires plaguing Americans, House Republicans have proposed an Appropriations bill that completely debilitates our response to the climate crisis. This destructive bill promotes dirty energy, hastens the decline of our ecosystems, and fosters hate and discrimination,” Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01) said. “I can’t overstate how damaging these proposed cuts will be to the EPA, Department of the Interior, Forest Service, and other related agencies which are critical to climate mitigation and the overall safety of our communities. With climate-related disasters costing the U.S. approximately $26.7 Billion so far this year alone, it's clear this so-called ‘fiscally responsible’ bill will have irreparable impacts on both our economy and future generations.”
“Republicans’ 2024 Interior funding bill takes an aggressive anti-environment stance that would endanger public health, hurt our economy, and make us less safe. This would lead to more asthma, more cancer, and more natural disasters afflicting American families,” Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) said. “The bill damages our public lands, promotes dirty energy, jeopardizes biodiversity, and hinders our response to the climate crisis. On top of these cuts, Republicans are slashing funding for the arts and prohibiting the Smithsonian from moving forward with the National Museum of the American Latino or operating the Molina Family Latino Gallery. These cuts are cruel and a clear representation of their values.”
Key provisions included in the draft fiscal year 2024 Interior bill are below. The text of the draft bill is here. The subcommittee markup will be webcast live and linked on the House Committee on Appropriations website.
The 2024 funding bill:
Department of the Interior (DOI) – The bill provides a total of $14 billion for DOI, a decrease of $721 million below 2023. Of this amount, the bill includes:
- $1.2 billion for the Bureau of Land Management, $255 million below 2023.
- $1.5 billion for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, $237 million below 2023.
- $3.0 billion for the National Park Service, $450 million below 2023.
- $1.3 billion for the U.S. Geological Survey, $150 million below 2023.
- $154 million for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, $29 million below 2023.
- $279 million for the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, $11 million below 2023.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – The bill provides a total of $6.2 billion for EPA – a decrease of $4 billion below 2023. The lowest level the EPA has received since 1991. Of this amount, the bill includes:
- $2.99 billion for EPA’s core science and environmental program work, $4.1 billion below 2023. Within these amounts, the bill includes:
- $651.2 million for Geographic Programs which funds the restoration of nationally significant bodies of water like the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, and Long Island Sound. This is a decrease of $30.5 million below 2023 and $30.8 million below the President’s budget request.
- $2.58 billion for State and Tribal Assistance Grants, $1.9 billion below 2023. Within this amount, the bill includes:
- $995.6 million for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, $1.77 billion below both the 2023 and President’s budget request levels. This includes $880.5 million in Community Project Funding for 767 clean water, drinking water, wastewater, and storm water management projects across the country leaving only $115 million for other projects in the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving funds.
- $1.51 billion for Infrastructure Assistance Grants, $1.82 billion below 2023 and $2.93 billion below the President’s budget request.
- $1.07 billion for Categorical Grants, $87.6 million below 2023 and $343.9 million below the President’s budget request.
- $80 million for Brownfields cleanups, $20 million below 2023 and $51 million below the President’s budget request.
- $105 million for Diesel Emissions Reduction grants, $5 million below 2023 and $45 million below the President’s budget request
- No funding for Environmental Justice activities, $102 million below 2023 and $369.1 million below the President’s budget request.
Related Agencies –
- $3.6 billion for the Forest Service (non-fire), $312 million below 2023.
- $178 million for the National Gallery of Art, $31 million below 2023.
- $186 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, $21 million below 2023.
- $960 million for the Smithsonian Institution, $185 million below 2023.
- $12 million for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, $3 million below 2023.
- $30 million for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, $15 million below 2023.
The bill also includes 35 new policy riders in addition to legacy riders, many of which are partisan including:
Undercutting the Environmental Protection Agency
- Prohibits the consideration or incorporation of the social cost of carbon in any agency action.
- Prohibits EPA from approving waivers of the Clean Air Act for the State of California.
- Prohibits EPA from implementing the final rule titled “Federal ‘Good Neighbor Plan’ for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards”.
- Prohibits EPA from finalizing the proposed rule titled “Supplemental Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category”.
- Prohibits EPA from taking action on certain pesticide labeling.
- Prevents Waters of the U.S. rule from having force of effect.
Promoting Dirty Energy
- Prohibits funds for wind energy activities in Idaho until a GAO report is completed.
- Requires the Secretary of the Interior to publish a 2024-2029 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Final Proposed Program and Record of Decision selecting the same number and description of sales described in the 2023–2028 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program.
- Prohibits pre-leasing, leasing, or the conveyance of leases for offshore wind energy activity in the Florida administrative boundary until certain conditions are met.
- Requires the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a minimum of two region-wide oil and gas lease sales in certain planning areas.
- Directs the Secretary of the Interior to resume quarterly onshore oil and gas leasing sales and specifies number of sales in listed states.
Damaging Public Lands and Natural Resources
- Prohibits funds to enforce Public Land Order No. 7917 for Withdrawal of Federal Lands; Cook, Lake, and Saint Louis Counties, MN.
- Requires the Secretary of the Interior to reinstate hardrock mineral leases in the Superior National Forest in the State of Minnesota.
- Amends existing law regarding use of mining claims for ancillary activities.
- Directs the Secretary of the Interior to issue a new Record of Decision for Caldwell Canyon Mine project.
- Expands sage grouse listing prohibition to include additional distinct population.
- Prohibits funds to allow for bison introduction in Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge.
- Cottonwood: requires DOI to issue a final rule from the Trump Administration regarding the ESA
- Prohibits DOI from implementing or enforcing rule that protects Lesser Prairie Chicken
- Prohibits funds for North Cascades Grizzly Bear Ecosystem Restoration Plan.
- Prohibits funds for implementing final rule listing Northern Long-eared bats.
- Directs the Secretary of the Interior to reissue the final rule entitled “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife”.
- Prohibits funds to require transfer or relinquishment of water rights as permit condition.
- Exempts special recreation permits from certain cost recovery fees.
- Amends the Coastal Barriers Resources Act.
- Prohibits funds for management of Grand Staircases Escalante National Monument except in compliance with Record of Decision and February 2020 Resource Management Plan.
- Requires the Secretary of the Interior to reissue Order No. 3368
- Prohibits funds for advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
- Prohibits funds for Critical Race Theory.
- Prohibits funds for the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Latino and the operation of the Molina Family Latino Gallery.
- Prohibits DOI from providing counseling sessions for employees on certain topics.